I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
The Lombard Lamp gracing Heights Boulevard in Houston, Texas, is a beauty! We have passed it while in our car many times, and one day we decided to take a closer look. We learned much by doing so!
Gift From the City of Hamburg
There is a Lombard Bridge in the City of Hamburg, Germany. Many such lamps as this one in Houston are installed along that bridge. They have been illuminating the bridge since the year 1869. There is a plaque on one side of the base of the lamp. Part of it shows the following:
“This Lombard Lamp is presented to the people of the City of Houston by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg so that it may forever brighten a bridge of friendship in human relations, trade, and commerce. March 1979”
Below is an old photo of the Lombard Bridge in Hamburg, Germany. If you look closely, you can see the lamps on the bridge.
The Houston Heights
Another plaque around the metal base of the lamp tells the following story regarding the Houston Heights.
“Houston Heights Historic Multiple Resource Area
Houston Heights, one of the first planned communities in the state, was founded in 1891. It was incorporated in 1896 and flourished as a separate municipality until 1918 when it was annexed by the City of Houston. The name, Houston Heights, was chosen to reflect the area’s 23-foot elevation and advantage over downtown Houston.
In 1983 the geographic area encompassing the old township of Houston Heights was designated a National Historic Multiple Resources Area by the United States Department of the Interior. Numerous properties within its boundaries are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.”
Melvalene and Carl Cohen Plaza
Many of the people living in the Heights have been active participants in its history. So it is with Melvalene and Carl Cohen who owned and operated a very successful grocery store. It was called the Studewood Food Market.
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A small existing store at West 14th Avenue and Studewood Street was initially purchased. Then a much larger building took its place under their ownership and management. It became one of the largest of independently owned grocery stores in its day!
From what I have read, Mr. and Mrs. Cohen were brilliant business people. They were way ahead of their time in what they offered in their large 15,500 square foot grocery store.
It is not too unusual to see pharmacies, snack bars, and services such as payroll cashing in larger grocery stores today. But back in the late 1950s and 1960s, this was far from the norm. They eventually employed over 100 people. All kinds of special promotions such as visits from Santa Claus and Easter Egg Hunts were done. They even had occasional entertainment for their patrons, such as well known country singers.
It is no wonder that theirs was a favorite place for the 20 years that Cohen's operated that business!
Both of them were very active in their local community as well. The Cohen's are deserving of this plaza named in their honor. It was dedicated in 1999 and is maintained by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. The spectacular Lombard Lamp is the central highlight of this plaza.
Sometimes it pays to get out of one’s vehicle, slow down and learn about things one sees in more detail. My husband and I are glad that we did. The stone sculpture atop the metal base with lamp rising above it is so pretty!
This Houston Heights area has so much to offer! There are the annual sculpture exhibits on Heights Boulevard. Just last Sunday, we attended another Bravura Concert Series at All Saints Catholic Church. These free concerts take place several times a year. From all kinds of unique shops to spotting murals or stopping for a bite to eat, the Houston Heights is a beautiful area in which to explore more of Houston.
You can find the Lombard Lamp at W 11th Street & Houston Heights Blvd., Houston, Texas 77008.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Peggy Woods